Now that the Poole Model Railway Society’s exhibition is over for another year I can return to my normal activities and this week I’ll be getting back to my step-by-step build of an N Scale A-B-A ready-to-run set of Alco C-855 locomotives. This week will be concentrating on painting the locomotive shells. You can find part one of the build here.
As you may recall the shells when delivered were white, or rather translucent, and I cleaned them up using a bath of Goo Gon for twenty-four hours. Once they had dried and I’d removed all the excess powder with my brush in a Dremel style tool they looked like this.
The first step is to prime the parts. Originally when I started painting 3D printed models I used to simply paint or spray acrylic paints directly onto the prints. Although this worked well it does have a few disadvantages. Firstly the material is porous and the color soaks into it which can alter the actual color. Secondly with lighter colors it needs several coats to prevent light from showing through which can cover up detail. Thirdly only acrylic paints can be used because enamel paints had a reaction to the material and simply didn’t dry.
So I now spray all the parts with a primer similar to Tamiya Fine Surface Primer to cover all the surfaces. Because it’s so fine none of the detail is obscured as you can see below.
Once the primer is dry my attention is then turned to the main colors. Union Pacific locomotives have used the same colors for long time; Harbour Mist Gray and Armor Yellow. I intended to use True Color paints for these models and although the Harbour Mist Gray is spot on I find their Armor Yellow is a little too orange so I mixed my own to color match with several other Atlas and Kato UP models.
The Armor Yellow is the first to be put on and I sprayed all of the sides leaving the top clean.
Then, once dry, I masked off the area below the top Harbour Mist Gray area. It’s the masking off which takes all the time and once it was done I jumped right into the spraying so I don’t have any photos, sorry. But once dry it looks like this.
Spraying the Harbour Mist Gray on to the Armor Yellow requires less paint than the other way around; dark colors always cover better than lighter. I then masked off above the lower section and sprayed that part as well. This was even trickier to mask off; who designed this kit anyway?! Once the mask is removed the shell looks like this.
A few areas have a bit of paint bleed between the colors but as I planned the paint joint to be in the middle off the red line it won’t show. A few areas also didn’t get any paint but these can be touched in with a paint brush as I work through the fine details. All three shells are now sprayed and ready for the next step.
As well as the main shells I’ve also sprayed the sand boxes and fuel tanks. As there are so many parts I find it easier to use a piece of masking tape with the parts stuck to it.
The next step is to apply the decals and I’ll be using Microscale sets, 71105 and 60-35, plus a few extras from set 60-36.
In next week’s post I will show you how to apply the decals.